Science Guardian

Truth, beauty and paradigm power in science and society

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

News, views and reviews measured against professional literature in peer reviewed journals (adjusted for design flaws and bias), well researched books, authoritative encyclopedias (not the bowdlerized Wiki entries on controversial topics) and the investigative reporting and skeptical studies of courageous original thinkers among academics, philosophers, researchers, scholars, authors, filmmakers and journalists.

Supporting the right of exceptional minds to free speech, publication, media coverage and funding against the crowd prejudice, leadership resistance, monetary influences and internal professional politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, HIV(not)AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, information technology, religions and cults, health, medicine, diet and nutrition.

***************************************************

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Halton C. Arp wki/obit/txt/vds/txt/txt/bk/bk, Henry Bauer txt/blg/ blg/bks/bk/txt/bk/vd, John Beard bk, Harvey Bialy bk/bk/txt/txt/rdo/vd, John Bockris bio/txt/ltr/bk, Donald W. Braben, Peter Breggin ste/fb/col/bks, Darin Brown txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/vd, Giordano Bruno bk/bio/bio, Frank R. Buianouckas, Stanislav Burzynski mov, Erwin Chargaff bio/bk/bio/prs, James Chin bk/vd, Nicolaus Copernicus bk, Mark Craddock, Francis Crick vd, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw txt/bk, Roger Cunningham, Charles Darwin txts/bk, Erasmus Darwin txt//bk/txt/hse/bks, Peter Duesberg ste/ste/bk/txt/vd/vd, Freeman Dyson, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman bio, John Fewster, Rosalind Franklin, Bernard Forscher tx, Galileo Galilei, Walter Gilbert vd, Goethe bio/bk/bio, Nicolas Gonzalez tlk/rec/stetxt/txt, Patricia Goodson txt/bk/bk, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Etienne de Harven bk/txt/vd, Alfred Hassig intw/txt, Robert G. Houston txt, Steven Jonas vd, Edward Jenner txt, Benjamin Jesty, Adrian Kent vd, Thomas Kuhn, Fred Kummerow, Stefan Lanka txt/txt/vd, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen vd, Paul Lauterbur vd, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, James Lovelock, Andrew Maniotis, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, Christi Meyer vd, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Luc Montagnier txt/txt/vd, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling prs/vd/vd, Eric Penrose, Roger Penrose vd, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick bio/vd/bk, Robert Root-Bernstein vd, Sherwood Rowland, Otto Rossler, Harry Rubin, Marco Ruggiero txt/txt/intw/vd, Bertrand Russell Carl Sagan vd, Erwin Schrodinger, Fred Singer, Barbara Starfield txt, Gordon Stewart txt/txt, Richard Strohman, Thomas Szasz, Nicola Tesla bio/bio, Charles Thomas intw/vd, Frank Tipler, James Watson vd/vd, Alfred Wegener vd, Edward O. Wilson vd.

ACADEMICS, DOCTORS, AUTHORS, FILMMAKERS, REPORTERS AND COMMENTATORS WHO HAVE NOBLY AIDED REVIEW OF THE STATUS QUO

Jad Adams bk, Marci Angell bk/txt/txt/txt, Clark Baker ste/txt/rdo/vd, James Blodgett, Tony Brown vd, Hiram Caton txt/txt/txt/bk/ste, Jonathan Collin ste , Marcus Cohen, David Crowe vd, Margaret Cuomo, Stephen Davis BK/BK,/rdo, Michael Ellner vd, Elizabeth Ely txt/txt/ste, Epicurus, Dean Esmay, Celia Farber bio/txt/txt/txt/vd, Jonathan Fishbein txt/txt/wk, T.C.Fry, Michael Fumento, Max Gerson txt, Charles Geshekter vd, Michael Geiger, Roberto Giraldo, David Healy txt, Bob Herbert, Mike Hersee ste/rdo, Neville Hodgkinson txt /vd, James P. Hogan, Richard Horton bio/vd/vd, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Johnson, Claus Jensen vd, Phillip Johnson, Coleman Jones vds, William Donald Kelley, Ernst T. Krebs Sr txt, Ernst T. Krebs Jr. txt,/bio/txt/txt/ltr, Paul Krugman, Brett Leung MOV/ste/txt/txt/tx+vd/txt, Katie Leishman, Anthony Liversidge blg/intv/intv/txt/txts/txt/intv/txt/vd/vd, Bruce Livesey txt, James W. Loewen, Frank Lusardi, Nathaniel Lehrman vd, Christine Maggiore bk/ste/rec/rdo/vd, Rouben Mamoulian txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/doc/flm/flm, Noreen Martin vd, Robert Maver txt/itw, Eric Merola MOV, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Michael Moore bio/MOV/MOV/MOV, Gordon Moran, Ralph Nader bk, Ralph Moss txt/blg/ste/bks, Gary Null /txt/rdo/vd, Dan Olmsted wki, Toby Ord vd, Charles Ortleb bk/txt/bk/intw/flm, Neenyah Ostrom bk, Dennis Overbye, Mehmet Dr Oz vd, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos ste/vd, Maria Papagiannidou bk, Thomas Piketty bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk, Robert Pollin txt/vd/bk, Jon Rappoport bio/bk/bk/ste/bk/bk/vd, Janine Roberts bk/bk, Luis Sancho vd, Liam Scheff ste/txt/bk/bk/rdio/vd, John Scythes, Casper Schmidt txt/txt, Joan Shenton vd/vd, Joseph Sonnabend vd, John Stauber, David Steele, Joseph Stiglitz bk/txt, Will Storr rdo Wolfgang Streeck, James P. Tankersley ste, Gary Taubes vd, Mwizenge S. Tembo, John Tierney vd, Michael Tracey, Valendar Turner rec, Jesse Ventura bk, Michael Verney-Elliott bio/vds/vd, Voltaire, Walter Wagner, Andrew Weil vd, David Weinberger bio/bk/blg/blg/BK/bk/pds, Robert Willner bk/txt/txt/vd, Howard Zinn.

*****************************************************
I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

The progress of science is strewn, like an ancient desert trail, with the bleached skeletons of discarded theories which once seemed to possess eternal life. - Arthur Koestler

One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison. – Bertrand Russell

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. - Samuel Johnson

A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. – Mark Twain

Although science has led to the generally high living standards that most of the industrialized world enjoys today, the astounding discoveries underpinning them were made by a tiny number of courageous, out-of-step, visionary, determined, and passionate scientists working to their own agenda and radically challenging the status quo. – Donald W. Braben

An old error is always more popular than a new truth. — German Proverb

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself. – Mark Twain

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his income depends on his not understanding it. – Upton Sinclair

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster, but an opportunity. - Alfred North Whitehead

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. – Samuel Johnson

Man’s mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the desire to find those causes is implanted in man’s soul. And without considering the multiplicity and complexity of the conditions any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, he snatches at the first approximation to a cause that seems to him intelligible and says: “This is the cause!” – Leo Tolstoy

The evolution of the world tends to show the absolute importance of the category of the individual apart from the crowd. - Soren Kierkegaard

Who does not know the truth is simply a fool, yet who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a criminal. – Bertold Brecht

How easily the learned give up the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of ideas in their imagination. – Adam Smith

Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned. – Mark Twain

The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. If we watch ourselves honestly, we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated. – Arthur Koestler

Whenever the human race assembles to a number exceeding four, it cannot stand free speech. – Mark Twain

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. - Adam Smith

There isn’t anything so grotesque or so incredible that the average human being can’t believe it. – Mark Twain

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. – Voltaire

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.- Blaise Pascal.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures. – Voltaire

The applause of a single human being is of great consequence. – Samuel Johnson

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Human Nature)

Important: This site is best viewed in LARGE FONT, and in Firefox for image title visibility (place cursor on pics to reveal comments) and layout display. Click the title of any post to get only that post and its Comments for printing. All posts guaranteed fact checked according to reference level cited, typically the original journal studies. Full guide to site purpose, layout and how to print posts out is in the lower blue section at the bottom of the home page.
---Admin AL/E/ILMK---

Going to extremes in advancing medicine

Today Larry Altman in the Times writes on Barry Marshall, the Australian who just won the Nobel with Robin Warren for finding the real cause and cure for stomach ulcers, experimenting on himself by swallowing the bacteria he was sure caused the ailment.

This was a brave act, even foolhardy, and in doing so Marshall joined a tradition of rare and dangerous self sacrifice in the cause of knowledge, sometimes ending in the death of the pioneer willing to experiment on himself.

Altman is an expert on the topic, since he wrote the book “”Who Goes First? The Story of Self-Experimentation in Medicine.” We have ordered it; it looks like a fascinating book.

Acts of this sort betray a fervent desire to prove a truth in science and medicine which may be over the top, since some have died from it But it is still admirable, since it serves society in seeking a cure:

In 1929, Dr. Werner Forssmann broke a taboo against touching the beating human heart. As an intern in Germany, he inserted a thin tube into a vein in his elbow and slid it into his heart. Other researchers went on to develop that technique of cardiac catheterization and opened up the modern era of cardiology. Dr. Forssmann shared a Nobel Prize in 1956 for the nine times he had catheterized himself. In one set of experiments, Dr. Forssmann was injected with a radio-opaque chemical as he tried to take X-rays of his heart, a now standard technique known as cardiac angiography

(show)

The New York Times

October 9, 2005

When the Doctors Are Their Own Best Guinea Pigs

By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D.

BACK when the two Australian winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine suspected that the bacteria they were seeing in biopsies caused stomach inflammation and ulcers, critics insisted that the bacteria were just opportunists, not the culprits.

So one of the two, Dr. Barry J. Marshall, set out to prove the theory by following a traditional method of scientific research: he experimented on himself.

In 1984, Dr. Marshall gulped a potent cocktail of pure Helicobacter pylori bacteria. And promptly became ill. What’s more, his breath stank. Biopsies showed he had developed stomach inflammation that was not there before. Treatment cured the infection and Dr. Marshall stopped the experiment short of getting a full-blown ulcer. But he had made his point.

How many other Dr. Marshalls are out there – scientists who become their own guinea pigs?

No one knows because no one keeps tabs on the number of experiments performed on people in this country or elsewhere. For years, doctors used the initials of subjects, including their own, in reporting their studies, but stopped because of concerns that they were violating confidentiality. So, other than direct acknowledgment from a researcher, there is no way to know how often the tradition of self-experimentation is carried out today. But the anecdotal evidence that it goes on is rife.

Over the years, self-experimenters have made important contributions by developing drugs and vaccines, testing physiological theories and determining the role of vitamins and the causes of some diseases.

Only rarely have they killed themselves in the process.

Researchers cite a number of ethical and practical reasons for experimenting on themselves. Many scientists say they are applying the biblical golden rule to medicine – doing unto themselves before they do unto others. The practical reasons include knowledge of the risks, reliability and convenience.

Self-experimentation can be dated to at least the 16th century, when Santorio Santorio of Padua, Italy, weighed himself daily on a portable steelyard for 30 years. By measuring the weight of his food and drink and his bodily discharges and by recording how his body responded to various physiological and pathological conditions, Santorio made a crucial discovery. He identified a gap between the weight of what he ate and what he discharged, discovering that the body continually loses large but invisible amounts of fluid. Doctors calculate that loss, known as insensible perspiration, in the everyday care of patients.

In 1929, Dr. Werner Forssmann broke a taboo against touching the beating human heart. As an intern in Germany, he inserted a thin tube into a vein in his elbow and slid it into his heart. Other researchers went on to develop that technique of cardiac catheterization and opened up the modern era of cardiology. Dr. Forssmann shared a Nobel Prize in 1956 for the nine times he had catheterized himself. In one set of experiments, Dr. Forssmann was injected with a radio-opaque chemical as he tried to take X-rays of his heart, a now standard technique known as cardiac angiography.

Another German, Gerhard Domagk, won a Nobel Prize in 1939 for discovering the sulfa drugs. In later research, Dr. Domagk sought a substance that would kill cancer cells without harming normal ones. He sterilized extracts of human cancers and, after tests on animals, injected them into himself to learn whether they could be used as a cancer vaccine.

Modern anesthesia evolved from frolics that drew large audiences. In one such show in 1844, a Connecticut dentist, Horace Wells, observed a volunteer breathe nitrous oxide, gash his leg, and not note any pain until the effects wore off. The next day, Dr. Wells asked another dentist to administer the “laughing gas” to him and extract a tooth. When the gas wore off, Dr. Wells exclaimed: “It is the greatest discovery ever made. I didn’t feel as much as the prick of a pin.” He began using it on his patients. Ether, chloroform and other anesthetics followed, in part from additional self-experimenting.

One medical myth is that Walter Reed experimented on himself in Cuba in discovering that mosquitoes transmit yellow fever. But after pledging to be a guinea pig for the mosquito theory, Dr. Reed returned to the United States while two of the three other members of his team experimented on themselves. One died. Another barely survived. After Dr. Reed’s teammates made the crucial breakthrough, he returned to Cuba but never took his turn with a yellow-fever-carrying mosquito.

Lawrence K. Altman, M.D., senior medical writer for The Times, is the author of “Who Goes First? The Story of Self-Experimentation in Medicine.”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Bad Behavior has blocked 1333 access attempts in the last 7 days.